|Interleague Play Producing Exciting Games||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on June 12, 2009
In fact it was some of the most enjoyable baseball I remember watching in a long while.Â Maybe that was because of the World Series atmosphere, which pervaded so many of the series.Â If you watched the Angels and Dodgers or the Mets â€“ Red Sox or the Phillies â€“ Yankees or so many of the other series in this round of play it was hard to miss.Â For the contenders the reason is obvious -- this was a preview of possible World Series match ups.
But for the non-contenders this was something more too.Â These interleague games are as close as teams like the Giants, Orioles and Indians are to the World Series as they are going to get, and organizational pride, city pride and league pride are all on the line.Â Of course there is more to it than that. There are unfamiliar jerseys, unfamiliar teams, and the superstars youâ€™ve just seen on television or read about, but those are few and far between and in towns like Boston, NY and LA. That kind of awareness is old hat.
So why do the fans get so excited?Â Why do they come out to see these games?Â Â Itâ€™s more than novelty -- itâ€™s great baseball.Â Thatâ€™s what struck me most about watching the games this weekend.Â Almost every series was hotly contested. Teams put together ninth inning rallies, ace pitchers got beaten by someone who stepped up and was just a tiny bit better and unknown players hit those game winning home runs as teams gutted it out against opposition who was supposed to be better.
On the whole it was the best weekend of baseball Iâ€™ve seen all year -- and it opened a lot of eyes as to how balanced the leagues are today.Â The World Champion Phillies took two from the Yankees who have the highest payroll in the game, the Mets took two of three from a team which was acclaimed to be the best in all of baseball, and the Angels put to rest rumors that the Dodgers were the class of the West Coast.
But it was the closeness of the games, the battles, the pitching and hitting duels that occurred during the series that kept you rooted to your seat.Â That is what baseball is all about, and this weekendâ€™s interleague games gave the season a shot in the arm.Â No doubt it will serve as a wake up call to some teams, and as something to dream about for others.
I canâ€™t wait for more.